The generation gap in nursing

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Is there a generation gap in nursing? We jokingly refer to it as the ‘seasoned’ nurse versus the ‘young’ nurse, but I think it unfortunately is becoming quite the barrier in our profession.

Ever heard these statements before:

Those new tech-savvy young nurses don’t understand or appreciate what it ‘used to be like’. They don’t understand what hard work is. They haven’t grasped how good they got it. They’re always in a darn hurry.

And those old never-gonna-change nurses can’t accept that the way they used to do things is not always the best way. They are stubborn and can’t stop living in the past. They need to pick up the pace.

OK. I may have embellished just a tad. I apologize for my satirical attitude, it sometimes gets me into trouble. No harm intended -honestly. I only pose these questions to you because whether we like it or not this barrier exists and it’s getting in the way of progress. We’re all nurses here, and we have to find a common ground.

This post was sparked by a conversation on Twitter last night during the weekly #RNchat. If you’re not familiar with Twitter or #RNchat please hop on over to this link and read a bit : Let’s just say it’s all kinds of awesome. A great place to learn, socialize, grow, connect and collaborate with some of your fellow professionals from all over the world! It’s truly amazing the commonality we as professionals share once you get to talking with them. I highly recommend getting on Twitter and checking out #RNchat (I think they have been meeting every Thursday @ 9pm EST). OK, enough of the plugging and promoting.

Denying that this barrier exists is not going to fix the problem. Ignoring the problem only makes it stronger. I think we need to start talking about it more, actively sparking dialog, and start sifting through the ‘garbage’ out there to make some real progress at eliminating this negativity.

The truth is the ‘new nurses’ need to realize and appreciate where the profession started and how the profession may progress, but the way we care for our patients never changes. The ‘old nurses’ need to accept that change is the only guaranteed element in our profession and that progress does not mean the care we give will change. I mean lets be honest here, why are we even using these damn labels?

Knowledge is the ultimate playing card, and anything that enhances our hand has to be a good thing. We need to stop drawing the lines in the sand, and start erasing them! Teamwork and unity will trump singularity and taking sides any day.

Any day!

What do you think folks? Am I delusional? I always love to hear your thoughts.

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3 Responses to The generation gap in nursing

  1. Pingback: Seasoned nurse versus new nurse « My Strong Medicine

  2. My unit is nearly all young nurses. Probably the pace and the ‘sexy’ patient population makes it attractive to us newbies. It’s also a virtual pipeline into CRNA school, again attracting youngsters.

    It’s nice in the sense there is nearly no old/young conflict and we all practice at the same frantic pace. I am positive we miss out on the benefits of older mentoring though.

    Interesting topic.

    • Sean Dent Scrubs Blogger

      @nurseXY The trauma unit I worked on years ago was that kind of unit, but it had the ideal mix of seasoned and new. It was a unique and ideal place for any nurse wanting and willing to teach and learn.
      It too was a CRNA launch pad. I feel you need and should want a fine mix of both, just as you say, or you just might miss out on some great learning opportunities.
      Thanks for the comment!